Mike Trout, the top-rated prospect in Major League Baseball according to MLB.com, has been invited back to the XM All-Star Futures Game, an event he graced last season in Angel Stadium. Matching the U.S. against the World, the annual showcase of premier prospects will be staged at Arizona's Chase Field on Sunday, July 10, two days before the Major League All-Star Game.
Trout, the Angels' 19-year-old outfielder, was among the stars in last year's Futures Game in his future home. He is excited about the prospect of appearing again in the contest wearing the U.S. colors.
"I'm thrilled," said Trout, who went 2-for-4 last year in Anaheim, reaching base in all four plate appearances. "I'm one of those guys -- any opportunity I have to play baseball, I love it. It's a great honor again.
"I look at it as a great opportunity to go out there and shine again. I had a good game, had a great time and met a lot of good guys. It was a great experience."
The 13th annual Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD at 3 p.m. PT, and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on XM 175. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, and you can keep up to date by following @MLBFutures on Twitter. Fans can join the Futures Game conversation by tagging tweets with #mlbfutures.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America, USA Baseball and the 30 Major League Baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters for each club. Each organization is represented, and the World Team features players from 12 countries and territories. Players from all full-season Minor Leagues were eligible to participate.
Trout, a first-round pick by the Angels in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Millville, N.J., is having another brilliant season at Double-A Arkansas. He was rated the No. 1 prospect by MLB.com coming into the season and has done nothing to diminish his stock.
Trout is hitting .324 with a .424 on-base percentage and .557 slugging mark for Arkansas. After a slow start, Trout came alive in May, hitting .333, and he has been on fire in June with a .363 batting average, scoring 25 runs in 20 games. He has 12 extra-base hits and 11 steals in those 20 games.
His power/speed combination is evident in his 12 doubles, nine triples and nine homers. He has a team-high .981 OPS (on-base plus slugging) and is playing stellar defense, according to reports viewed by Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"Mike Trout has a chance to be a special player," Scioscia said. "He can really run, and he loves to compete. He has all the tools and the desire to make things happen.
"We're excited about his future. He's advanced for his age, but we're not going to rush him. We want him to continue his growth."
Hank Conger, now catching for the Angels, was the MVP of last year's Futures Game after hitting a three-run homer to power the U.S. victory. Trout also put on a show after entering the game as a replacement for the Phillies' Domonic Brown, who tweaked a hamstring.
A three-sport high school star, Trout showed his blinding speed in center field, running down fly balls in both gaps, and also out of the batter's box. He forced errors on sharply struck grounders to shortstop and third base in his first two at-bats before beating out an infield hit to shortstop and slamming a double to right-center.
Trout, who turns 20 on Aug. 7, has seen several players from last year's game, such as the Royals' Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, already make an imprint in the Majors. It gives him a sense that his time is coming.
"That definitely makes it [seem possible], seeing guys like Moustakas and Hosmer," Trout said. "I think I could be right up with any of those guys. It definitely gives me more confidence.
"I'm just playing hard, trying to win the first half for the Arkansas Travelers. If the Angels give me the opportunity, I'll try to go out there and compete. Personally, I definitely think about it. I know they'll make the right choice."
With the Angels deep in the outfield, Trout is likely to be promoted to Triple-A Salt Lake before he gets the call to Anaheim.
Among the 201 current Major Leaguers who have performed in the Futures game are Angels infielders Howard Kendrick (2006) and Kendrys Morales (2005), catchers Conger (2010) and Jeff Mathis (2003-04) and pitchers Ervin Santana (2003) and Kevin Jepsen (2008).
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.